1 Samuel 17:8-10 (NKJV) 8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”
As we look at the idea that we are a church living in a time of war, I want to look at one of the most famous battles in the Bible. 1 Peter 5:8-11 reveals to us that the church has an adversary. This adversary is the devil. He goes about as a roaring lion seeking those who will succumb to his intimidation and deception. Peter goes on to tell us to resist this adversary by being steadfast in the faith. I believe we can look to the battle between David and Goliath to find some important keys as to how to do that.
First, we must know our enemy. Intelligence gathering is one of the most important things any army does before a battle. The more they know about the composition, strength and positioning of the enemy the more likely they will win the battle. Intelligence will also seek to know the psychology of the enemy and the nature of how the enemy fights. We can learn a great deal about our enemy by looking at Goliath.
In 1 Samuel 17 we see that Israel has been attacked by the army of the Philistines. I think it is interesting to note that the place called Sochoh where the armies had gathered belonged to Judah. The devil tries to deceive us into thinking he has a right to what is ours. He does not. The Philistines had invaded Israel. The devil is invading your peace, your health, your prosperity and anything else he tries to take. It is our right to resist him and drive him out of our lives and the lives of those we love and are responsible for.
The picture is that there are two hills with a valley between them. The Hebrew army led by King Saul is on one side while the Philistine army is on the other. Every morning for 40 days the Philistines sent out a champion called Goliath. His message is simple. “Send someone to fight me. If he wins, we will be your slaves. If I win you will be our slaves. There is no need for more bloodshed than that.”
This was an accepted method of warfare in the ancient world, but it was not mandatory that this challenge be accepted. The Bible tells us that Goliath was defying the army of Israel. In doing so he was also defying God himself. The army of Israel only saw how big Goliath was. They knew that no one Israelite could defeat this Giant. When we break down his size according to modern values, he was about 9 feet tall. His armor altogether weighed about 270 pounds. The weight of a normal soldier’s armor was about 60 pounds. You can imagine how big a man had to be to wield such heavy weapons.
Goliath was a dangerous adversary. We must realize that the devil is also a dangerous adversary. He has been stripped of most of his weapons by Jesus, but one remains. That is the weapon of deception. He has been around as long as time. He knows things none of us can know. If we are not grounded in the Word of God and in our relationship with him, he can and will deceive us into allowing him to defeat us.
Part of that deception is the roar of the lion. Satan has no teeth and no claws. Yet a lion’s roar is very loud and intimidating. To intimidate is to compel or deter by threats. The threats may be real or only perceived but the real goal is to stir up so much fear that the opponent will not fight. We see that Goliath had done just that. No one in Israel had the courage to fight him. The whole war was at as standstill because of Goliath’s threats.
Goliath is a type of the roaring lion. There is always a roaring lion in every battle we face. There is always someone or something that is trying to intimidate you into giving in without ever fighting. It may be the failures of your past. It may be your upbringing. It may be other people, or it may be your own inward voices. The source changes but the content is always the same. The devil tells us that we can not win. We must just accept things as they are. The obstacles are too big, the enemy is too strong, you are too weak or both. As long as you focus on the roar of the lion you will never win because you will never fight.
How do we deal with the roaring lion? We will look at David later in this study, but right now let me point out the most important thing he used to silence the roar of Goliath. He pointed out that he had a covenant with God and Goliath did not. When we speak of the covenant, we must first believe we have one. We must also know what our covenant says. A covenant is a much stronger word for contract. If we have a contract but do not know what the terms of the contract are, we are unable to access its power. An adversary will take advantage of our lack of knowledge to use our contract against us.
Hosea 4:6 (NKJV) 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
Over my more than 40 years of ministry, I have found this scripture to be true. Many of the people that I was responsible for were being destroyed because they just did not know what God had already said about their life. The covenants of God contain promises. David knew that his covenant guaranteed that God would fight for them when they were in his will. The philistines had attacked the land God had given to Israel. The size of the enemy was irrelevant because of the promise of God. In the power of that covenant promise David easily defeated Goliath. The rest of the army was, in a sense, perishing because they had forgotten the covenant and what it said.
When the Goliath in your life roars at you, remember that you have a covenant. It is a better covenant than the one David had.
Hebrews 8:6 (NKJV) 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
Our covenant is stronger than Davids because it is between Jesus and the Father. It is based on better promises because Jesus is alive to see to it that the promises of God are yes and amen in him (2 Corinthians 1:20.) Our covenant contains all that the Old Covenant did but also contains everything written in the New Testament. When the lion roars or Goliath challenges us, it will mean nothing if we know what the covenant promise says.
When the devil tells me that my needs will not be met, I know that he is just trying to intimidate me. I know that my covenant says that my Father knows my needs and if I seek his kingdom, he will supply them all (Matthew 6:31-32.).
When Goliath says that I am alone I know that Hebrews 13:5 says he will never leave me nor forsake me.
When he tries to make me see how much is against me, I know that Romans 8:31 tells me that God is for me so nothing can succeed against me. Whatever we face in life is covered by our covenant with God. We never need to be so intimidated we quit if we know what the Word of God says is ours in Christ Jesus.
Goliath is the roaring lion in your battle, but Jesus is the true lion of the tribe of Judah. You do not need to fear or give into your Goliath. The promises of God are written in the Word of God and when we stand on those promises, we cannot be intimidated no matter how loud the lion roars.